State News

Lake Michigan is coming for West Michigan homeowners, wrecking shoreline properties

January 23, 2020, 6:15 AM

Over the years, Michiganians have had many reasons to envy their more fortunate neighbors, who owned summer places in the vaguely defined region we know as "up north." Whether they lived there full- or part-time, the signs that hung over their doors seemed to say it best: It's better by the lake.

Spare a stab of pity for them now, as property owners on the big lakes -- Michigan, mainly, but also Huron -- scramble to physically move those structures to save them from the advancing, unstoppable water itself.

One homeowner didn't move fast enough to protect this structure. (File photo)

The Detroit News unveils a deep dive on the conditions in west Michigan, where lakefront properties are being raised on beams and winched back from the shoreline by contractors working so fast some haven't even had time to pull the necessary permits. 

Gregg Krupa writes:

(The waters) have left an 89-year-old woman distraught over the only home she has ever known tumbling off a cliff into Lake Michigan. People have lost houses in their families for generations that, three summers ago, had several dozen yards — ample room for fully-fielded softball games — between houses and water.

Property owners near Holland have reacted like the Dutch, uniting to finance massive sandbagging operations and seawalls.

And the state is wary that a scenic section of M-25, running several miles along the outside of the Thumb, with panoramic views of Lake Huron, may have to be reconstructed.

Climate change, bringing record rainfall and fierce storms traveling west to east, have pummeled the state's valuable western shorelines, contributing to erosion and a general lack of ice, which has protected the coast in winters past. 

Read more:  The Detroit News

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